Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Readiness, Chores, Unschooling and More....

I have come to realise now that many of the things that come up in my life today have their roots way back in my childhood and early adulthood. The way I see most of the things that I believe in today go back to my first experiences with them. I understand a little more now how those experiences were necessary and inherent to the life I was going to live, even though I had no clue about them then. I can only connect the dots backwards, never forwards.

Over the last few weeks, I have been watching Raghav slowly start to do things around the house on his own, without us asking him. It has been many many years since I stopped asking him to help with things around the house. This new milestone has been a pleasant surprise for me and has given me so much joy! There is a specialness to this joy because I can sense the joy he feels in doing these things now. He has been putting his things away after playing, wants to cut vegetables and cook his own meal, helps me with putting vegetables away, carries shopping bags, chooses his clothes to wear, puts away clothes in his cupboard, and so many other little things.

From being nervous about making him 'independent', to being a  lackadaisical mother, this has been a huge learning curve for me like with many other areas. Raghav's interest in doing things around the house waned with the imposed explorations (as part of his 'home-work') that came from school. He stopped showing any interest in any of this. A child who would earlier enjoy shelling peas, filling bottles of water, putting clothespins on clothes, and so on, simply stopped participating in any of that. And soon, I was struck with fear. Fear of how to make him 'finish' his homework, which was often activities of this sort, fear of whether he would detest chores around the house, fear of whether he would ever be independent in these things and a fear of what people would say about all this. Would they say that I was spoiling him or making him lazy? What would he do if and when he got married? (Ah yes! These silly fears don't spare anyone :) do they?) Yes, I went through it all. From desperation, to anger to irritation to pleading with him, I tried it all! Every avenue to make him independent.

But there was nothing I could do about it, no change I could effect in him, except to face my fears. Because my son would not budge. Nothing would make him budge. He would just plain and simply refuse. And that was it. He was someone who couldn't care a hoot about any form of reward or pleasure, and so it was quite impossible to bribe him with anything too. Today, I shudder to think that we tried so many of those covert tactics just to get him to do these few things that were just simply rooted in our own fears. I shudder because I can feel and understand the pain of that helplessness and the narrow mindedness that I had to go through to get here - where I am today. But I did not know any better then. I was like the fallow soil, soaked with toxins leached from previous harvests, that could not nurture any seed in it now....until it was revived and regenerated to be fit to hold fresh new life in it.

All I could do was surrender to him and life and trust that this too would be taken care of in the best possible way for him and us.

Learning life skills related to things to be done in and around the house, was an important part of my growing up too. But it was largely out of choice than out of compulsion. The compulsion was again rooted in fear - perhaps my mother's fear of what people would say, and what we as girls would do if we did not know some basics. I remember being told off time and again about clearing up after dinner - something which my sister and I fought tooth and nail about, and something which bugs me even today :) Funny how these little things stick in our heads like glue.

While we were growing up, it was my grandmother who spent a lot of time with us, more than my mother, and she is largely responsible for making me find joy in doing some of the chores around the house - that joy has stuck with me till today. Perhaps I found joy because she never forced us to do anything. She would just do it all with devotion and sincerity, while we watched. And sometimes I too would join in whenever I felt like. We grew up always having house-help or someone who would do the odd jobs around the house, as my mother also worked full time. And yet,those moments when I did some of those things myself, gave me immense joy! I remember running to sit and watch and try my hand at grinding dosa batter, the traditional way, on the grinding stone; I remember rushing behind water lorries across the street, with buckets and pots and pans to fill water in the smallest of containers, often leaving a stream of water behind me :); I remember learning how to cook from my grandmother, when my mother was away on a trip somewhere - she would teach us to make dosas of different shapes - something which I did happily for Raghav too, besides learning how to make other dishes. It was all good fun as the intent came from within! And that perhaps made all the difference.

As a young special educator, I was 'trained' to see the importance of children (especially kids with special needs) learning to do chores around the house. They were an integral part of their individualized curriculum.Of course, they had to be independent and become contributing members of the society. They had to give back. It was (if I think back now) also a way of managing the fear of parents - the real fear of what will happen to their kids if they die? There is nothing wrong or right about that fear. But I feel that often we do not pause enough to sit with those fears....we brush them aside too quickly....we want to find a solution immediately to make it all work; to make it all okay...and very often, we are so afraid of the fear itself, that we hide behind the sweet cliches that we are made to love so much....'that we need to be independent', 'that we need to contribute to the society', 'that giving back in this way makes us feel good about ourselves' and so on....Again, all these are perfectly fine....but why make them into yardsticks and milestones to be achieved by a particular time frame?....Are we too scared and too impatient to wait for these to emerge on their own? Do we give the kids a choice in these matters? Choice - not as a means to rebel, but as a means to find joy in what they do.

I can talk like this now, but back then, I too fell into the trap set up by all these cliches. Some kids in my class enjoyed working on these things, while some didn't. And we often fell into yet another trap of 'trying to make it more exciting for them' just so they would be 'motivated' to try and learn some of those, as best as they could. Yet, there were also some adults with disabilities who rebelled and chose to seek help from able-bodied friends because they did not like doing some things on their own and causing a mess. The mess was harder to handle I guess than the issue of independence. And I am thankful today to have met souls like that....who put everything in perspective for me.

To contribute or not, to be independent or not, is a choice that rests with the individual. Can we be inclusive enough to see it that way? 

I wasn't. Not with my son. I still fell into those old patterns of fears and traps. But I am grateful that Life showed me the way. Quite early in our unschooling journey, I stumbled upon Pam Laricchia's lovely blog - Living Joyfully. She and her writings about unschooling have been a great source of inspiration to me. It opened me up to new possibilities and choices, new ways of seeing and doing and being with my son, especially when it came to chores around the house. From a mother who was obsessed about 'cleaning up' toys and other stuff, I learned to let his things be. I learned to see what I saw as a 'mess' was his 'creation' and 'learning space'. I learned to see that things flowed into each other, and so something that was started today, could flow into tomorrow, rest for a while and continue after many days. I learned to respect that way of learning and being. And so we left his things as they were, until he was okay about them being cleaned up.

Often our dining table would be converted into a race track for his cars; there would be Lego structures all over the floor and house, train tracks would form mazes under furniture, and unfinished projects stacked up some place. I learned to separate my need to 'clean up' from his need to 'let things be'. Over a period of time, we understood each others' needs. He understood why I needed to put some things away, how my mind needed that order to function, while I understood his need to not clean up and how he learned. Sometimes, he would on his own make 'cleaning up' a game and use his construction vehicles to pick up things and drop them in their respective boxes. But most times, when he was okay for things to be put away, he wouldn't want to help or do it himself. He would ask me to do it. Sometimes I did it grudgingly, sometimes shouted at him for not helping me, out of tiredness, and sometimes just happily did it all myself.

Yes. We are all perfect with our imperfections. I realised soon though that it was my need to put things away and not his. He didn't see why he needed to do that. And reading what Pam wrote, helped me see that helped me give him the space to be helped me trust my child and the ways of Life, knowing that he would learn what he needed to, when he was ready or willing. I am so glad that I was able to give him that space, although it came after the painful explorations of being utterly human.

I also realised that my wanting him to learn to cook and take care of some of these chores, was also rooted in gender issues. I had these strong beliefs that men needed to know how to take care of themselves; that they should not depend on women; that doing things around the house was everyone's job. I had a huge grudge against my husband's lack of interest in helping around the house, his inability to cook a simple meal for me when I was tired or sick or just like that even, and was hell bent on making sure that I brought up my son differently. And the antics I resorted to for that! Now I can laugh over it; but back then I was the incorrigible, ungrateful, nagging wife and mother. I had this weird logic (because of my past conditioning that that was the way) that if my son watched us do things around the house together, and if we were 'role models', he would automatically develop an interest in these.

And so I wanted my husband to get out of being one gender stereotype, to get into being a human stereotype! :) I goaded him to do more stuff than he already was doing around the house; I cribbed about his not being able to cook even a simple meal for me, about not 'helping' me enough with the jobs and so on. It didn't get me anywhere. My son chose to be blind and deaf to all my weird antics, and wisely so :)

And I came to my senses. I finally realised that I was falling into the same trap of 'making something that was not exciting for him, more exciting'. I was trying to control reality instead of trying to understand what reality was, and what lens I was putting on to see it. That was an eye-opening and a mind-opening moment for me. It was not about 'letting go' of something that I was holding on to, but rather a new way of 'seeing' what I was doing. A seeing which set me free, and which in turn set my son free.

Life was so much different after that. My husband started doing things more out of his own volition and not because I was telling him so. And I began to trust my son and life in different ways. It has helped immensely. When you are pushed out of your comfort zone is when you begin to truly live. And my son has a way of doing that to me time and again. I am grateful for that push, that nudge to the edge, where I have found myself over and over again.

There have been many times when well-meaning friends and family have asked me why I do so much for my son, and why he doesn't do so much....'he is always on the iPad, he is not interested in anything else', 'he is grown up now, he can help you more, help himself'....or 'don't you think he will feel good about himself if he contributes in some way to the family?', and I have often been silent, with no or few words coming out to explain myself, or smiled and said that it would happen in its own time. I am glad I trusted my heart and my son. Nothing else matters really. I guess it is good to have blinders on sometimes :)

I am glad that I waited without waiting. I am glad that I sat with my fears as they came up. I am glad I did what I did...and happy with the journey that life has carved out especially for me. That exquisite sculpting has been Life's gift to me. Today, when I see my son put aside his iPad on his own and jump up to come and cook with me in the kitchen or do things around the house, or even get out of the house without it, to help me with my veggie shopping, I know that the soil is now more than ready now and rich to nurture the seed.

Today I can cherish the gift of technology that has made my son understand what it means to be 'obsessed', what it means to be 'bored', what it means to be 'enthused', and what he can do or not do about these, without killing the seed or 'genetically modifying' it to suit and grow in my ideas of reality.

Today, I know that 'excitement' is not something that can be controlled from without, but that it emerges from within. Today I know that my son is as excited about playing with his iPad as much as he is with cooking or Mine Craft or Lego or astronomy or being alone, and that one is not better or worse than the other. Different things excite or bore people at different times, and so the 'thing' is not the cause of the excitement or boredom that one feels. Rather, it is what emerges in the timing and the space that is in the interaction between things.

And that makes me see 'readiness' in a whole new way! When we usually speak of readiness, we think of it as something that comes from within in its own time. So we usually think of a seed being ready to burst open and grow into a seedling, or we speak of the soil being ready to nourish the we think of 'readiness' as a change that happens within something. But what is a seed without the soil? What is the soil without the seed? Can one be 'ready' without the other? Readiness then is what emerges in the space that exists in the interaction between two beings or entities. The change therefore does not happen within, it happens in the space created by the interaction.

Parenting to me is not about preparation anymore. It is not about preparing the seed or the soil for life. It is about opening up to the space in between.....the interaction, that is life. The preparation and readiness emerges from that sacred space.

So what can you do to get ready the space that you find yourself in today? :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Minecraft and We Come Alive!

Of late, Raghav has been asking a lot of questions about his body and I kind of sensed what was on its way.....but never in my wildest of dreams did I think that it would come up through Minecraft!

Here are some of the questions that came up from him just before he was getting ready for a bath a few days ago:
What are these two things? (feeling his breast area and nipples)
Why do men and boys have them?
Why are they different for women?
Why does this (pointing to his penis) stand up erect after I go to the bathroom?
I have seen you 'nanga panga' (naked) many a time, but I haven't seen your thing (my genitals). How is it different for you?
Why do only men have these two things hanging (pointing to his testes)? I know they are the testes and I think they produce the sperm cells. But why don't women have these?
Does it hurt for babies when the umbilical cord is cut? Why do they have to cut it? Won't it just fall off by itself?
I think there are more girls than boys in the world. Is that right? Why is it like that? Why are there not equal numbers of both?

These were questions that I don't remember asking anyone while I was growing up. No one talked to me about growing up, puberty, sex and my body. All that I remember is that my parents handed me a book on sex education when I had just started my periods I think. And that was that. Most conversations on these topics were with school friends and our Biology teacher (he had an awesome sense of humour by the way, which freed us and our thoughts and feelings). Somehow I don't remember being so curious about my body and asking so many questions. Perhaps school and being with friends (it was a co-ed school from KG till the 12th) took care of all the curiosity. So in many ways, I am grateful to Life for not giving me experiences that 'conditioned' me (at least to a large extent) in a 'negative' way, at least in this one aspect of my life. I formed my own opinions about my body and my sexuality. And so I was able, today, to share my thoughts and some knowledge with my son with a pure innocence, without thinking about what I should tell him and how. However, I also remembered the day Raghav came back home from school and sobbed and sobbed asking me why he was not allowed to sit next to, hug and talk to his best friend (who happened to be a girl), when all he was doing was showing how much he loved her.....just like the way the three of us hugged each other at home.....and he was all of four then!

The questions for which I knew the answers, I gave him. I felt it was important to name all the parts by their 'real' names first. So that was what I did....and for the rest, reminded him about BrainPop, the website that we often go to and the Human Body Encyclopaedia that we have. And also suggested he have a man-to-man chat with his father when he came back home. Most often, I find that Raghav just needs this little nudge or a pointer rather, as to where and how to look or find out, and then he is often neck deep in whatever he has chosen to explore :)

He then went on to explain to me how he had seen a video on Brainpop about how sperms are produced and how when the egg meets the sperm, an embryo is formed. Then the conversation flowed to AIDS, what it stands for and how one gets it. In all this, there was no talk about 'how' exactly the body fluids meet and what actually happens. But I let that be and decided not give him what he did not ask for now.

I also had a feeling after this barrage of questions, that he would very soon ask me if he could see my genitals, as he has mentioned that before in passing. That is going to be a huge test for me and I also know deep down that I have to face the fear that I have about that. But I also feel that it is better if he asks me and I can tell or show him, rather than his getting misinformation from somewhere else some day. Not that that would make a huge difference, because we are all anyway constantly unlearning stuff! But I would. I would want to if it comes to that. However I feel about it now.

I also remembered a conversation some of us had at the special school I was working at years ago, on sexuality and the disabled. I remembered how a mother who was also on the staff rolls, shared with us how she would not hesitate to help her son masturbate or seek sexual gratification from a prostitute even, instead of curbing his natural urges. That conversation has stuck in my head. That opened up so much for me. And I am thankful to that truly magical place that has given me so much in my life, made me question everything that I believed in, and constantly spurred me to think and see things with new eyes.

Today, while we were driving for our weekly veggie shopping, instead of listening to music like we usually do , Raghav decided he would talk about a Minecraft Mod. The name of the Mod was "Minecraft Comes Alive". And what was that about? Marriage, having children, relationships, happiness levels, doing chores, and much more!
"Yes amma, this is much more real than the other mods," Raghav beamed, and went on to explain what one could do with this mod.
"But I don't understand why you would need to get married to have children. I mean....marriage was invented by humans right? It is not something of the body.....the body does not say - ok, now marriage is invented, so I can reproduce or have children...I am sure and I know that before marriage was invented people must have just had children....just like that," he added.
I agreed and also shared how some people adopt kids, how some people have kids and then get divorced, and so they are no longer 'married' in that sense, and how some people just have children without getting married at all. But I was quite baffled with his previous comments and asked him how he knew all that about marriage.

"I have been to marriages before haven't I....with you? I know because I have seen what we do in them....we have all those ceremonies and stuff.....all that has to be man-made right? But it is not what the body asks for is it?", he said.
"Yes....what does marriage mean to you then? How are babies born then?", I prodded on.
"I don't know....but I know that marriage is man-made, and that you don't need to be married to have children.... and when the sperm cells somehow are around the female, babies are formed," he added.
I smiled, realizing finally that this was the innocence of a child speaking. He knew so much and was even able to think through so much on his own and form his own opinions, and yet he did not know how exactly the sperm and the egg came together to form a baby. And so I told him. I gave him the word for it and explained how a baby could form - how the male organ had to get inside the female organ. We spoke about periods and how that was linked to the egg being produced. We also talked about what the chances were of girls and boys being born and why, connected it to pollination in plants and the countless seeds that a plant produces just to help it survive, how nature works and does whatever possible to make things survive.  Then he brought up 'happiness levels' and how villagers in Minecraft could go away if their happiness levels get below a particular point. And we spoke about how in the real world, we choose to stay on or walk away from relationships and why, how we don't always seek an easy, quick solution to a problem, just because we are unhappy and so on. He also wondered how the children in this Mod, can walk and talk and understand words, just soon after they were born! "How is that even possible amma?", he asked. And we the realism and unreal-ism in Minecraft. What a conversation that was!

I am grateful to Minecraft for bringing these topics up in a fun, light way. I guess it made my job all the more easy, although I never dreamed that this talk would actually happen in this way! :)
I am also grateful to Life for showing me the way yet again, to trust my child, and trust what he wants to learn and how. I know that many more questions will come up, now that we have dug into this mine, and I will wait for them patiently, knowing that he will ask us without fear, and that Life will show me the way.

I just have to trust Life completely. I just have to wake up to being real and alive, messy and human, innocent and vulnerable, as many times as Life asks me to. There is just no other way. For me.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


We got a call from my father while were visiting a friend today, asking us to stop by at the Titan showroom on our way back home. My father had received a gift of a watch from my mother's sister, which did not work at all. So when my father went to complain and get a replacement, he was asked to come back and take another watch for free (besides the one they replaced free of cost) worth 1000Rs. And he wanted to gift that to Raghav! But Raghav refused to come with us to the shop and also refused the gift. He promised to call my father when we got home and explain why he did not want that gift.

Sure enough, as soon as we got home he picked up the phone and called my father on his own. I was pleased that he was not only taking a stand, but also following it through by facing the consequences on his own, without asking me to be his voice. This was the conversation that ensued between grandfather and grandson :)
(I happened to be privy to this exchange only because R likes to talk only on speaker mode)

R: "I don't really need that watch thatha."
My father: "But I want to give it to you as a gift."
R: "But I don't need a watch....and even if you give it as a gift to me, I most probably will not use it."
My father: "You may not use it now, but sometime later you may want to use it....if you wear it, you will be able to read the time on your own."
R: "But I can already read the time on our clock."
My father: "Yes, but if you have a watch, you can read the time even when you are outside the house!"
R: "But I don't really need to read the time. I can ask someone if I need to know the time....I don't need to read the time because I know what time it is by looking at the sun....when it starts to get dark, I know what time it would be....and also it is a waste of money."
My father: "Ok. Why don't you anyway choose one and keep it. If you feel you would like to use it later, you can, or else you can give it to A (his cousin) when he comes, as your gift to him."
(and he went on to explain the story about his watch and how he was getting this one free)
R: "But I really don't need a watch...", and he gave the phone to me, giving up on my father. :)

After he hung up, we had a little chat about it.
"Will A know how to read the time on a watch if we give it to him as a gift?", he asked me.
"He may not know, but maybe it will help him get interested in learning how to read the time, just like that clock helped you....remember?," I added.

This is one of the many many conversations we have had with Raghav about gifts and giving. He has possessed quite a remarkable clarity of what he wanted or needed from very early on. He would (and still does) not accept gifts easily from people - simply because for him, if it was not something he needed, it was not a gift. He would also not say thank you or smile at the person giving the gift, unless they had given him something he really liked. He is still not able to see it from the other person's perspective, in spite of all the conversations we have had about this, their feelings etc. For a long time I would get upset with what he did (he would openly say that he didn't want or need it or ask why they gave it to him, or even purse his lips and grimace or smirk). Because I felt he had to care about another person's feelings.... "he has to be kind" was the commentary I was listening to.....that loud old voice inside that needs just the tiniest of cracks to slip through!....and I would try hard to help him see the other person's point of view. But he didn't get that.


“A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.” 


- The Bhagavad Gita

He would say: "But I don't like that gift and I don't need that. I don't ask or expect people to give me anything. Why should I take something that I don't like or will not use? How can I smile or say thank you when I don't really like it?"

And we would have long discussions on how people feel happy to give, how giving is an expression of affection or love, about how people would feel if we rejected their gift, and so on. But no matter how much we talked, the conversation would come back to this: "But I don't really need that gift!"

It was then that I realised that there was some truth in what he was saying. Connecting the dots backwards from there, I realised that his non-acceptance of some gifts was not because he could not appreciate and experience the joy of giving, nor was it because he could not see the other person's point of view. In fact it was I who was caught in the trappings of societal norms and niceties and conditioning. It was I who was not seeing his point of view. Here he was questioning and breaking all norms and customs that didn't make any sense to him and perhaps our times, and I was just not listening to his loud, clear voice. I was trying to help him understand the other person's feelings, without beginning to understand him.

A few years ago, where we lived earlier, I remember how he had asked me to buy something new for the security lady's daughters for Diwali. He had listened to me speaking about them - how they probably did not have enough money to buy anything for Diwali as his mother was the only one working, how their father was not living with them etc.. And he immediately wanted us to get something for the two girls. He was very particular that it should be something new, not used or old. So we found out from that lady what kind of things they liked and then got them that for Diwali - it was a craft kit where they could make their own jewellery with beads etc. They were so happy to receive a gift like that!

Similarly, we would have long discussions about giving away his old toys to orphanages. He would insist that we buy only new ones for the kids. "They must have new ones. I would not like to play with old, used toys," he told me. And we would rush off into discussions about consumerism, recycling, reusing, saving the environment and so on. Yes, he knew a lot about all those issues. But he would still say "No, but I want to give them new toys."

It was then that I realised that I was perhaps pushing him to do something he was not ready to do as yet. And why should he be ready now? Why do I want to put the world's problems on his small shoulders at such a young age and rob him and the other kids of their happy childhood? He has a whole lifetime to figure that out himself and make his own choice. Why should I dialogue with him on all this when his happiness of giving someone something was simple and unadulterated? Why should I make him get into a guilt trip of being an 'irresponsible', 'insensitive' child consumer who does not know the value of reusing and recycling? Won't that emerge on its own from within when he has had his fill? And when it comes from within, won't it be just that more beautiful? Why this race to make my kid into the adult that I could not be or a part of the world that I like to or want to see? And so I decided to wait for that day.

That day came much later when we had to move house. He was ready to give away the stuff he no longer needed. He wanted to have a jumble sale and what did not get sold, he gave away to those who were okay to take them. And he gave happily. It came on its own, just like it had before. I was glad that I had waited for that day. I was happy that I did not 'mould' him into the person I wanted him to be. I was relieved that I had seen him for who he was. That had made all the difference.

Of late, he is also a little more accepting of gifts. But not totally. He now understands a little more that he can always choose to give what he doesn't like to someone else who might just love it. But not always. It is hard to predict with Raghav. He has a knack of bringing me face to face with my fears every now and then. So when I am not centred and have the slightest self-doubt, he will do or say something to bring that up to the surface. At least that is the way I see it. So now, we tell people, including family, what he would like as a gift, and otherwise just let them know that it is quite okay if they don't get him anything. He himself tells his grandparents - "You don't have to get me anything for my birthday. It's okay. Appa and amma will get me what I want." And they too are beginning to understand :)

True giving is not easy. It requires us to be in touch with ourselves and the other. Raghav helped me see that in a new way. He redefined 'giving' and 'gift' for me. And that has been his biggest and best gift to me!

Perhaps kids like him are here to make us revisit and rethink these old, obsolete, narrow definitions of 'giving', 'gift' and many other things. Perhaps they are the ones who are clearing their own paths for their tomorrows. Perhaps all we need to do is to listen to the songs of their souls and help them clear their paths as they dance into a joyous tomorrow. Perhaps that is the best gift that we will ever give them.

So how do you define a gift and giving? Have you stopped to think about this before you give someone something?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Magic Flower

This morning, I was showing Raghav the flower that my mother brought for me yesterday from her garden - the 'manoranjitham' (Hari champa in Hindi). It is a unique greenish yellow flower with a fruity, intoxicating smell.

My grandmother often told me that it was a magic flower, because if you closed your eyes and thought of something - a fruit or some other pleasant smell, and then smelt this flower, you would actually smell the smell that you were thinking about, and that is why it had the name 'manoranjitham'.

When I shared this story with Raghav, he was so excited. He started thinking of smells at once to  check if the magic really worked :) From oranges to bananas to guavas to chocolate cake and bhel puri and carrots and capsicums, he tested the whole gamut of 'food' smells....things that he liked and disliked.
"What the heck?! Why is it that this magic works only for fruits? It doesn't work if I think of vegetables and other foods!," he exclaimed at the end of the experiment. And we both laughed and laughed. :)

He suddenly discovered that the pollen from the flower had fallen on the sofa and bent down to peer at it. I remembered that we had a pocket microscope somewhere and asked if he wanted to see the pollen up close. Soon he was gathering the pollen on a piece of paper and then slipping it onto the slide, to look through the microscope.
"Wow! Amazing...the pollen is cone-shaped....they look so beautiful!," he said, peering into the microscope.

"But the magic doesn't really work all the time does it!" :)

So where is the magic really? In the story or the experience or both? :)

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
~ W.B. Yeats

A builder is a builder is a builder!

Raghav made a simple little card of his own (his own idea and execution) for my birthday yesterday, with a little note inside that said "You are a gift to us" :)
Here is how he described to me how he made the card:

"It is a really simple card...I wanted to make a simple one. I used this green paper because I liked the colour. I took a square base twelve bumps long and wide (Lego lingo :) ) and then kept it on this paper, drew around it with a pen, and cut it out. I made two squares like this. Then I cut strips of cello tape and used them as 'hinges' to make it into a card that will open and close like a door. I used four strips of cello tape as hinges - two inside and two outside, to make the hinges even stronger. Don't you like it?" :)

A builder is a builder is a builder, I guess.....until the time he is inspired to pursue another passion :)

Raghav LOOOVES sticky tape and its stickiness.....the one kind of stickiness that doesn't make him want to wash his hands constantly :) As a little kid he loved sticker bindis (he would stick packets and packets of them all over his forehead and belly), stickers and sticky tape. He would make loops and loops of sticky tape and keep sticking them on his fingers and peeling them off repeatedly. He loved playing with that 'stickiness'. No other. I guess he has now been able to figure out how to use his two 'loves' and blend them to create something on his own.